Celebrating 20 years of devolution in Wales—what’s changed? | Dathlu 20 mlynedd o ddatganoli yng Nghymru—beth sydd wedi newid?

Back To Latest News

Initially the Assembly had fairly limited legislative powers which required consent from Westminster. Arguably more important was the subsequent passing of the Government of Wales Act 2006 which gave the Assembly greater primary legislative powers. Certain tax raising powers were granted by the Wales Act of 2014 and, more recently, the Wales Act 2017 significantly extended the powers of the Assembly.

A little history…

The conquest of Wales by Edward I of England in the 13th century resulted in the death of last native Prince of Wales and the complete annexation of Wales to the English Crown.  Henry VIII’s ‘Acts of Union’ followed  in 1535 and 1542 (Welsh: Y Deddfau Cyfreithiau yng Nghymru 1535 a 1542) which made Wales a full and equal part of the Kingdom of England. The legal system of England was extended to Wales and the norms of English administration introduced (such as English style counties).

After nearly 500 years of English law,  in the past 8 years of Welsh primary rule, we have seen some significant changes. The Assembly’s approach has been markedly different to the rest of the UK, promoting social procurement and trade union engagement.

Leading the way

The Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015

This is possibly the most notable piece of legislation passed, being the first of its kind, not just in Wales but across the globe. It set a framework for public decision-making, ensuring that all public bodies must consider the wellbeing of future generations. The main factors to be considered: equality, community, culture and Welsh language, and global responsibility.

The Human Transplantation Act 2013

This was a landmark piece of legislation which provided for presumed consent for organ transplantation. This law has improved public awareness and increased the number of registered donors and transplants, saving countless lives already. Similar legislation is being considered by Westminster and other parliaments across the world.

The Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013

This has transformed standards, requiring food outlets to publish and display their hygiene ratings. Furthermore, the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Act 2014 tackled the removal of the sector’s employment protection of approximately 13,000 Welsh agricultural workers (which had previously been abolished under English law). A new Welsh model was created which was upheld by the Supreme Court following a challenge by the UK Government.

The Trade Union (Wales) Act 2017

This was brought in to reverse the adverse effects of the UK Government’s Trade Union Act. The aim of the legislation is to protect public services in Wales and is based on a vision “rooted in the principles of social partnership”. The Assembly also tackled the issue of zero-hours contracts in the care sector via the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016, meaning that care providers will be legally entitled to a fixed-hours contact after 3 months of working under a zero-hour contract.

Ushering in change

The Assembly Members has ushered in legislation to:

  • abolish the right to buy in Wales and protect social housing
  • establish an Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal
  • create the first Welsh taxes for 800 years along with new laws on planning, tenant rights, public health, minimum pricing of alcohol and safe nurse staffing levels.

The Assembly’s powers have also been extended to include sustainable responsibility for transport, railways, bus regulation, land tax, and income tax.

Brexit has meant a heavy workload for Assembly, who have been  scrutinising over 130 statutory instruments now required as a result of leaving the EU. Despite this, the AMs have continued to propose new domestic laws for Wales. Currently there are proposals for:

  • new planning laws
  • reducing the voting age to 16 for Assembly and local government elections
  • voting reform, including making the electoral register digital
  • increasing the organisation and accessibility of Welsh law.

Former Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, as chair of the Justice Commission, as well as  the Welsh Fair Work Commission, are due to conclude their reports and recommendations on future legislation imminently. To have achieved all of this in just 20 years is no mean feat, and it will be exciting to see what bold and progressive steps the Assembly will take in the next 20.


Mae 20 mlynedd wedi mynd heibio ers i Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru (y “Cynulliad”) gael ei sefydlu gan Deddf Llywodraeth Cymru 1998. Yn y erthygl yma, mae un o’n cyfreithwyr dan hyfforddiant, Danielle Bragg yn edrych ar sut mae’r tirwedd deddfwriaethol wedi newid yng Nghymru yn yr amser hwn.

I ddechrau, cyfyng iawn oedd pwerau deddfwriaethol y Cynulliad – roedd angen caniatâd San Steffan cyn creu cyfraith newydd. Ond, pan ddaeth Deddf Llywodraeth Cymru 2006 i rym, rhoddwyd mwy o bwerau deddfu sylfaenol i’r Cynulliad- datblygiad hanfodol yn hanes deddfwriaethu yng Nghymru. O fewn y ddeng mlynedd ganlynol, rhoddwyd pwerau i godi trethi i’r Cynulliad (Ddeddf Cymru 2014) ac, yn fwy diweddar, mae Deddf Cymru 2017 wedi ymestyn eu pwerau ymhellach.

Ychydig o hanes…

Yn dilyn Concwest Edward Iaf o Gymru yn y 13eg ganrif, bu farw tywysog brodorol olaf Cymru a ‘meddianwyd’ y wlad gan Goron Lloegr. Yn dilyn Y Deddfau Cyfreithiau yng Nghymru 1535 a 1542 fe ddaeth Cymru yn rhan o Deyrnas Lloegr. Cafodd system gyfreithiol Lloegr ei hymestyn i Gymru a cyflwynwyd normau gweinyddiaeth Lloegr (er enghraifft siroedd tebyg i Lloegr).

Ar ôl bron i 500 mlynedd o gyfraith Lloegr, mae’r 8 mlynedd diwethaf wedi bod yn gyfnod o lywodraethu Cymraeg – cyfnod o newidiadau sylweddol. Mae dull gweithredu’r Cynulliad wedi bod yn wahanol iawn i weddill y DU, gan hyrwyddo caffael cymdeithasol ac ymgysylltu ag undebau llafur.

Arwain y ffordd

Deddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol (Cymru) 2015

Mae’n bosibl mai hwn yw’r darn mwyaf nodedig o ddeddfwriaeth a basiwyd yng Nghymru a’r cyntaf o’i fath, ledled y byd. Gosododd fframwaith ar gyfer gwneud penderfyniadau cyhoeddus, gan sicrhau bod yn rhaid i bob corff cyhoeddus ystyried lles cenedlaethau’r dyfodol e.e cydraddoldeb, y gymuned, diwylliant, yr iaith Gymraeg, a chyfrifoldeb byd-eang.

Deddf Trawsblannu Dynol (Cymru) 2013

Roedd hon yn eitem bwysig o ddeddfwriaeth a oedd yn darparu ar gyfer caniatâd tybiedig i drawsblannu organau. Mae’r Ddeddf hon wedi gwella ymwybyddiaeth y cyhoedd ac wedi cynyddu nifer y rhoddwyr cofrestredig a’r trawsblaniadau, gan arbed nifer o fywydau. Mae deddfwriaeth debyg yn cael ei hystyried gan San Steffan a seneddau eraill ledled y byd.

Deddf Sgorio Hylendid Bwyd (Cymru) 2013

Mae ddeddf yma wedi trawsnewid safonau glendid, gan ei gwneud yn ofynnol i allfeydd bwyd gyhoeddi ac arddangos eu sgoriau hylendid. Yn ychwanegol, trwy Deddf Sector Amaethyddol (Cymru) 2014 cafwyd wared ar warchodaeth cyflogaeth y sector o tua 13,000 o weithwyr amaethyddol yng Nghymru (a oedd cyn hynny wedi’i ddiddymu o dan gyfraith Lloegr). Crëwyd model Gymreig newydd a gadarnhawyd gan y Goruchaf Lys yn dilyn her gan Lywodraeth y DU.

Deddf yr Undebau Llafur (Cymru) 2017

Defnyddiwyd y ddeddf yma i wrthdroi effeithiau anffafriol Deddf yr Undebau Llafur Llywodraeth y DU. Nod y ddeddfwriaeth yw diogelu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yng Nghymru ac mae’n seiliedig ar weledigaeth sydd wedi’i gwreiddio yn egwyddorion partneriaeth gymdeithasol. Ar ben hyn, aeth y Cynulliad i’r afael â’r mater o gontractau oriau sero yn y sector gofal drwy Ddeddf Rheoleiddio ac Arolygu Gofal Cymdeithasol (Cymru) 2016, sy’n golygu y bydd gan darparwyr gofal hawl cyfreithiol i oriau penodol ar ôl 3 mis o weithio o fewn contract oriau sero.

Y newidiadau

Mae aelodau’r Cynulliad wedi cyflwyno deddfwriaeth er mwyn:

  • diddymu’r ‘hawl i brynu’ yng Nghymru a diogelu tai cymdeithasol
  • sefydlu Tribiwnlys Anghenion Addysgol Arbennig Cymru
  • creu’r trethi cyntaf yng Nghymru am 800 o flynyddoedd ynghyd â chyfreithiau newydd ar gynllunio, hawliau tenantiaid, iechyd y cyhoedd, isafswm pris alcohol a lefelau diogel nyrsio.

Mae pwerau’r Cynulliad hefyd wedi’u ehangu i gynnwys cyfrifoldeb cynaliadwy dros drafnidiaeth, rheilffyrdd, rheoleiddio bysiau, treth tir a threth incwm.

Mae Brecsit wedi golygu llwyth gwaith trwm i’r Cynulliad, sydd wedi bod yn craffu ar dros 130 o offerynnau statudol o ganlyniad gadael yr UE. Er gwaethaf hyn, mae aelodau’r cynulliad wedi parhau i gynnig cyfreithiau domestig newydd i Gymru. Ar hyn o bryd, mae cynigion ar gyfer:

  • deddfau cynllunio newydd
  • gostwng yr oedran pleidleisio i 16 ar gyfer etholiadau’r Cynulliad a llywodraeth leol
  • diwygio pleidleisio, gan gynnwys gwneud y gofrestr etholiadol yn ddigidol
  • cynyddu trefniadaeth a hygyrchedd cyfraith Cymru.

Bydd y cyn-Arglwydd Brif Ustus, yr Arglwydd Thomas o Cwmgiedd, fel Cadeirydd y Comisiwn dros Gyflawnder, yn ogystal â Chomisiwn Gwaith Teg Cymru, yn cwblhau eu hadroddiadau a’u hargymhellion ar ddeddfwriaeth y dyfodol yn fuan iawn. Mae cyflawni hyn i gyd mewn 20 mlynedd yn ddipyn o gamp – diddorol fydd gweld pa gamau blaengar bydd y Cynulliad yn eu cymryd yn y 20 mlynedd nesaf.